Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Swiss Half Fare Card
- Offers 50% discount to use trains, buses, boats and public transportations in 75 cities.
- Children under 16 travel for free.
This card provides savings up to 50% for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland.
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How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes are available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 country combinations for extensive travel on the national rail networks. Going for an extended trip? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering rail travel in 31 different countries.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service, First or Second, selected and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. Can a rail pass be issued as an e ticket or e pass?
A. At this time, most rail passes are printed as a paper document and must be shipped to you prior to your departure to Europe. If a rail pass is offered as an e-pass this option will be offered at the time of booking. For rail passes offered as e-passes, you will need to print it out on paper prior to arriving at the train station.
Q. Can I get off the train and get back on later using my train ticket?
A. In most cases, this is not possible. Train tickets that include a reservation are only valid for a single ride on the train for which the reservation was issued. While stepping off the train is possible if the train makes intermediary stops, you wouldn’t be allowed to resume your trip by boarding another train with the same ticket. Your train ticket is only valid on the train printed on it.
Open train tickets may be the exception. They can allow you to hop off and back on another train on a given route to continue your itinerary, as long as that new train doesn’t require or offer reservations. Special conditions do apply for breaks on regional trains, so it’s a good idea to confirm locally.
If you’re traveling with an open ticket and a reservation for your original train, you forfeit that reservation for the remaining part of your journey when you hop off. You may hop back on another train that doesn’t require a reservation, but you’d essentially be traveling with an open train ticket only and not have a reserved seat. Again, special conditions do apply for breaks on regional trains, so it is a good idea to confirm locally.
Q. How can I check to see if food is served on a particular train?
A. When you search for a train schedule, the results page will give you the opportunity to click and view the onboard services for each class of service offered.
Q. What should I do if I missed my scheduled train? Can I take the next one?
A. If you’re traveling with open tickets, you can take any train that doesn’t require a reservation, traveling on the route for which your open ticket was issued.
If you have an open train ticket and a reservation, you can forfeit your reservation and still use your open ticket on a train running on the same route that doesn’t require a reservation.
If your train ticket is a combined ticket and reservation, then you cannot simply board the next train. You may need to purchase a new train ticket for that train or exchange your current ticket for a new one.
First, read the exchange conditions for your train ticket. This can be found printed with your actual ticket if you have a paper ticket, or on your Rail Europe email invoice. This will allow you to determine whether your train ticket is exchangeable or not.
If you have a non-exchangeable ticket you will have to purchase a new train ticket, regardless of the delivery method of your ticket.
If you have a semi-flexible or flexible ticket (i.e. your train ticket can be exchanged for a fee and/or under certain conditions), then you may be able to exchange your current ticket for a new one. In general, these exchanges must take place prior to the train’s departure.
Contact us as soon as possible to initiate the exchange process, before the train’s departure. If you are unable to reach us by phone, seek the assistance of a station agent. Never board a train with a train ticket that includes a reservation for a different train, unless specifically authorized to do so by a railway official.
Q. What other types of services are available at the station?
A. Most European train stations provide a variety of services, including currency exchanges, information desks, lockers for luggage, arrival/departure boards, restrooms, coffee shops, and gift shops. Some larger stations in larger cities have WiFi hotspots, lounges for business travellers, and restaurants and bars.
View our Train Station page to see specifics on a particular train station in Europe. The link can be found in the footer on any page on the website.
Q. What credit cards does Rail Europe accept online?
A. You can use an American Express, Diner’s Club, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa card on our website.
Q. Is there WiFi onboard?
A. WiFi availability is increasing on European trains. This service, however, is not currently offered on ALL trains. Where it is offered, it’s usually complimentary with the purchase of a First class ticket. If you’re traveling in Second class, you may incur a fee to connect to the WiFi service.
Here is a brief list of trains offering WiFi:
ICE (select trains)
SJ High Speed
In addition, WiFi access can typically be found at many major train stations throughout Western Europe. More than likely, you’ll encounter a small fee to use the WiFi service. In some stations First class ticket/pass holders will find complimentary WiFi, usually in designated First class lounges.
Q. I'm looking to book a train on your site but I can't find it, why?
A. We know it can be frustrating when what you’re looking for is not displaying, let us help, as there could be several reasons for this happening.
1. It could be the case that it is too soon to book the train you wish to travel on. Typically, trains can be booked 3 months in advance. Of course, this can vary by carrier and time of year. Some trains have a longer booking horizon.
2. The train or fare you are looking for is not available. Depending on the time of year, time of day, or train you are looking for, it could be the case that there are no available seats for booking. If your travel dates are flexible, you can select an alternate travel dates to see if the train you are looking for displays.
3. Scheduled track work or maintenance could be scheduled for the day/time you are looking to travel. Carriers will close reservations for these scheduled dates, meaning they will not appear on our site to book.
4. Some trains are private lines or operated by carriers that do not allow other distributors to offer them. In these cases, tickets will need to be secured locally at the station.
Q. What is the questionnaire that comes with my rail pass? Do I have to fill it out?
A. The questionnaire (or travel report) on the ticket jacket containing your Eurail pass is a required survey used by the European railways to better understand how Eurail passes are used throughout Europe. A gift is offered by Eurail for completing and returning the questionnaire to the supplied address. Upon receiving the travel report, Eurail should send the free gift within 4-6 weeks.
Q. How can I track the status of my refund?
A. To check the status of your refund, you can visit our Contact Us page to send us a message. Please be sure to include your original booking number so that the refund request can be researched.
Refunds processed online for e-tickets are completed immediately. Emails received for e-ticket refunds will be processed on the next business day.
Refunds for paper documents cannot be completed entirely online because your original travel documents must be sent back to us. They will be processed within 1-2 business days after the documents are received by Rail Europe. Our Customer Relations team will contact you once your refund is processed.
Please note that once a refund has been processed, it will take 7-10 business days for it to reflect in your credit card account.